He raced motorcycles until the age of 14, where he then strapped into his first race car.
At the age of 15, Johnson became the youngest person to ever hold a NHRA competition license.
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The Ottumwa, Iowa product was born into a family of straight-line racers, thus it’s only natural that his dream was to follow in his father’s footsteps and compete professionally on the quarter-mile track. J.’s racing career started at the age of eight-years-old competing on motorcycles at a local track in Iowa.
"Everyone wins races, but only 16 people are in that club. It’s mostly veteran drivers and I was a young kid (22-years-old) when I accomplished that."A year later, Johnson advanced to his first professional final round where he posted a runner-up finish to five-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Joe Amato at the Mile-High Nationals near Denver.
After competing on a part-time basis for three seasons, Johnson reached pay-dirt for the first time as a professional driver in 1993, his first full professional season behind the wheel, when he drove his Ron Swearingen-tuned dragster to the win over Cory Mc Clenathan at Pacific Raceways near Seattle.
member of the Slick 50 300-mph Club after clocking a speed of 302.01-mph at Houston Raceway Park.
He joined Eddie Hill, Amato, Prudhomme and Bernstein as the only members in both the four-second and 300-mph clubs.
Later that season, Johnson set the NHRA speed record at 306.64-mph in Topeka, Kan."My biggest accomplishment in racing, to date, is being a member of both of those special clubs," Johnson said.